INFPs: are they a rare breed?

Are INFPs rare? A quick Google search (because I couldn’t afford to buy the actual MBTI manual just so I can quote a few stats) seems to suggest otherwise. Let’s take a quick dive into what the online world of today thinks about INFPs actually being rare. 

They’re mid-range. 

According to multiple sources, INFPs rank somewhere in the middle of all types. Some of these statistics are taken directly from the MBTI manual, so I’d say I believe it. In one of the pieces of evidence that I came across, a website shared information that they retrieved from the MBTI manual, published by the CPP, that when it comes to frequency of each type in the global population, the INFPs ranked at about 4.4% to be exact. A 4.4 is a high number, considering that the lowest percentage was 1.5%, making the INFJs the rarest type on planet earth. 

They are not easy to detect. 

It is true that the INFPs are often hard to detect and recognize. They are easily mistaken to be extroverts, especially because they are intensely invested in the lives of people they surround themselves with. INFPs are empaths who can easily sense the emotions other people project, and they use this ability to help those in need of emotional support. Moreover, they are often reached out to by different people, because of their kind and genuine aura. 

INFPs also avoid conflicts at all costs! They prefer not to rock the boat, and prefer to live with everyone in a complete state of harmony. And quite frankly, INFPs manifest their defining characteristics inwardly, and most of their cognitive functions are intangible and difficult to put a finger on. How can one identify and differentiate an INFP from someone who is just having a bad day?

Impact of changing circumstances on the MBTI results. 

While the MBTI results give quite an accurate estimation of an individual’s personality (or at least it did for me), based on the kinds of answers someone provides them with, it has been observed that people, motivated by different factors and circumstances, get different results. Somebody who may be suffering with a serious case of depression, taking the test, might be typed as an INFP. And the same person, upon taking the test when they are healthier may be typed as a different personality. 

This happened to a friend of mine who was typed as an ESTP bout two years ago, and then two days ago, he retook the test, and has now been typed as an ESTJ. He credits it to growth, but I believe that his literal journey from being a young entrepreneur with a new start-up, to becoming an executive who now has people working for him, really caused a big shift in his personality, which can detected by the MBTI test. 

Other factors like answering nonchalantly, not understanding the questions, having a basic understanding of what to expect so you consciously or unconsciously lean in one direction, being too excited, too nervous, too exhausted; all of these emotions also impact the test results. 

And when there’s so much uncertainty regarding the results, the accuracy of the commonality or rarity of a type is really not really reliable.

The MBTI doesn’t have a set of reliable statistics. 

See, when it comes to collecting data in order to form statistics, the MBTI test cannot the entirety of the world population. A few hundred or, okay let’s say thousands of people may have taken this test. Out to 7.9 billion, what’s a few thousand? How representative can those be for the population of the entire planet, let alone one country?

So, how can I, or anybody, based on speculation alone, or on a data of a few people who believe in this test to measure one’s personality accurately, be enough to declare whether our type, or other type out there, is the rarest out of all of them? 

INFPs are rare. 

According to a page online, INFPs really are rare. In fact, they claim that INFPs may be the eighth rarest out of the sixteen personalities. That’s like defining black people as “dark white”, to be honest. Eighth rarest out of a total of sixteen only puts the INFPs back in the middle of the list of types. 

Which brings me to a very important question: why is it so important for INFPs to be rare? No matter the type, we are all unique in our own ways, and these different qualities despite belonging to commonly existing types, come from our different life stories, our upbringing, and obviously, from different sets of DNA. Being an INFP is incredible in itself. Following are a few characteristics that are going to make the INFP readers at least be able to appreciate themselves a little. 

INFPs are empathetic people. 

They are introverted, but are also extremely empathetic. Which means that whether they wish to or not, they always end up connecting with people. And let’s be honest, they always wish to. Human beings fascinate them. They have a natural tendency of getting people to trust them with things they’d never tell other people. And they do it all to be able to help them. INFPs get easily emotionally drained, but they would do everything in their capacity as healers to help people with the support that they need.

INFPs are empaths. 

An empath is someone who feels more empathy than an average person. They can recognize the emotions hidden behind an individual’s face, that, too, before they become obvious to other people. And as INFPs, my dear friend, are empaths. Other types are good at empathising with people, too. But when it comes to an INFP, it becomes somewhat of a responsibility for them to help people with their emotional struggles. All the INFPs in the house should be proud of that.

INFPs feel things to incredible depths. 

Yup. INFPs have the dominant Introverted Feeling (Fi) function, which is why it isn’t always evident, but the depth to which they feel their emotions cannot be explained using words. They tend to try using their art; by writing stories, poems, drawing things, singing, and whatever form comes naturally to them, they always end up revealing just how deeply their emotions actually run. They are often referred to as a cave, and they don’t let just anybody in. Only a few people get to see the real depth of an INFP, and even to them, they don’t reveal the entirety of their feelings.

INFPs are creative and often artists. 

INFPs may not be the best at expressing their feelings, but they are extremely creative. Which means that they have the ability to create different forms of art. They may be a skilled writer, poet, singer, painter, dancer, or just about anything artistic that one can be. INFPs actually express that endless ocean of emotions that they feel inwardly, through these creative means. 

It is because of this very reason, that separating the art from the artist is simply not possible, because they sprinkle a part of their inner selves on their work. They show the world who they really are, without actually flaunting it.

INFPs are dreamers.  

They may not be the rarest, but INFPs are known to have the secondarily dominant cognitive function of Extraverted Intuition (Ne), which allows them to have some of the most vivid imaginative skills ever. Their imagination has a world of its own. The extremely rich internal world that they have built for themselves, allows INFPs to explore infinite scenarios in exquisite detail. This also helps them engage with the external world better. That being said, it is also very easy for them to lose themselves in their imagination, as their inner lives are a dominant force in their personality.

INFPs are known to be healers. 

Due to their empathetic nature, INFPs are naturally inclined towards helping other people. Because they see the world through the lens of their feelings, they almost have a sense that helps them absorb other people’s suffering and pain, and they have a way with healing the ones hurting. Their artistic tendencies and creativity, be it through music or any art in any other form, has often proven to help people in the healing process.

INFPs are not afraid to let their passions known. 

INFPs are extremely passionate people. They have strong values and beliefs, and guess what? They love to talk about them. If a topic that piques the interest of INFPs is being discussed, no matter how large the gathering is, you will see an INFP participate. It may need some convincing and encouragement from a friend whether physically present, or via text. 

Also, a lot of “I’m going to speak. But maybe I shouldn’t. What if I start talking and forget what my point was? What if my voice comes out funny? I’m not doing it. I’ll do it. No, I won’t. Yes, I will.” goes on. But more often than not, they finally pull through and share their opinion.

See? INFPs can be really amazing people. They don’t need to be rare for you to feel special if you belong to this type.